Fall in love with Pondalowie Vineyards and their magnificent story of winemaking across the globe, and now in nearby Bendigo. Dominic and Krystina are passionate about their craft and we’re thrilled that they’re our artisan of the month. Join us in June to taste their MT Tempranillo, one of our favourites here at Junction.
How long has Pondalowie been operating?
Dominic and I established our vineyards in 1997. Our first vintage was in 2001.
How did Pondalowie get started? What was the inspiration?
Pondalowie was conceived on a camping holiday at ‘Pondalowie Bay’ (Yorke Peninsula, S.A), our favourite spot to rest in-between vintages in Australia and Portugal. Around the campfire one night we decided to use the knowledge and experience we’d gained from our years of making wine in Australia and Europe to create wines in our own style, using grape varieties we were passionate about.
Where is your vineyard?
We have 25 acres at Bridgewater on Loddon, near Bendigo and also source grapes from premium, artisan growers in Heathcote for another wine brand we’ve started called ‘Pinga Wines’.
What did the founders do previous to starting Pondalowie?
Krystina studied Oenology (winemaking) at Adelaide University then worked as a winemaker in the Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale and Portugal.
Dominic turned a career in wine-marketing to one in winemaking when, after working vintages in Australia, Portugal and Burgundy, he became Chief Winemaker of the Douro Valley winery Quinta do Crasto. Alongside running Pondalowie with wife Krystina, Dominic worked for Quinta do Crasto for 17 years making three trips a year to oversee production and was proud to have helped them achieve their recognition as one of Portugal’s best table wine producers.
It offers the perfect balance between agriculture, art & creativity and science.
Is there a specific product you are most fond of from your business?
Because of our background working in both the Barossa and Portugal, we love Tempranillo and Shiraz equally. Our MT Tempranillo and, when produced, our Special Release wines are fond favourites.
Our MT Tempranillo is made in a fresh, vibrant, early drinking style based on the Spanish ‘Jovem’ (meaning young) Tempranillo styles—a wine that truly represents the varietal flavours of Tempranillo and the influence of our terrior – ‘Minha Terra’ (a Portuguese expression for ‘my terrior or ‘my home’).
Our ‘Special Release’ label is reserved for ‘one-off’ wines and generally represents the best wines produced that year.
What’s your number one tip for the ultimate wine experience?
Serve wine at the correct temperature. Aim for around 16-18˚C for reds and 11-12˚C for whites. Serving red wines at this cooler temperature allows the fruit flavours to be expressed and the palate to have better balance.
Where would you take a visitor for an essential country food experience?
The Woodhouse in Bendigo. They cook steak sourced from artisan producers in Victoria and Tasmania over a red gum fire grill – the flavour is amazing.
If you could visit any city for a day’s eating and drinking experience, where would it be and why?
What other local artisans or producers do you admire? Why?
McIvor Farm Old Breed Pork at Tooborac in Victoria –3rd generation farmers who are passionate about holistic farming have created a ‘beyond free-range’ system. Their pork products are amazing.
Jonesy’s Milk – for an Australian owned, sustainably produced milk that offers a fair return to our farmers.